Culture is one of the things that I look into when traveling. My curiosity takes me to places; to learn, to accept, and understand whatever difference there is that divides people. I’m always in search of authentic encounters.

There’s so much to see in Taiwan and the number of days I stayed isn’t enough to cover all the places it could offer. I wanted to see  the countryside but I cannot go too far out of Taipei. Fortunately, Jiufen and Shifen are conveniently near with just about an hour travel from downtown.

Jiufen and Shifen are both located in the Northern part of Taiwan. This itinerary is ideal if you’re tired of the city vibe as it will give you a refreshing view away from the metro. Though, it can be very crowded especially on weekends since it’s one of the tourist destinations in the country.


Do you know that there was a movie that is Jiufen inspired? It’s Mizayaki’s famous movie entitled “Spirited Away”. There are parts of the film that do tear off huge Jiufen chunks as inspiration to the character, Chihiro. Many are keen to visit the place to get a glimpse of the iconic red lanterns, and the stairs which were featured in the movie.

The resemblance is undeniable. From the buildings, narrow streets, lots of stairs and the red lanterns found everywhere. And if you’re lucky, you could even meet no face in Jiufen’s famous tea house that is on the tip of the mountain.

SPIRITED AWAY inspired setting


Jiufen is a food destination, it is a place of heaven cos it’s all about food stalls and tea houses. So, make sure to come with an empty stomach, or else you’ll miss some of the best things to try. One of the things that you need to try is the Yu Yuan or Taro ball which is a symbol of Jiufen local snack. It is made out of Yam, Taro, sweet potato and some Tapioca. You can have it either hot or cold (with ice), with your choice of syrup that comes with different flavors like ginger or red bean.

Taro balls


There will be a lot of free tastes offered along the alleys. You can try them to get a bit of everything.

We also stumbled into this shop shop that makes creepy looking but enthralling clay masks. The owner started it as a hobby without realizing that he has already made thousands of it. Each mask shows the ugly faces representing the traits and behaviors of us, humans. While some of the masks are faces of influential people like presidents and leaders of other countries.


We were asked for 20ntd each for the entrance, though the guy initially said it’s 40ntd. Lol

It’s mostly cold in Jiufen as it is situated on the mountain, and it always rains in the area. Bring an umbrella and ensure that you have a jacket to keep you warm.

SHIFEN (Pingxi)

Pingxi is known for lantern-flying, they even have an annual lantern festival that is typically done during Chinese new year. It’s a fun activity where you will write your wishes to the sky lanterns with colorful patterns, then send it off to the sky for good luck. The whole place is quaintly amusing.

The image of the railway and the pleasing mood of the whole place is far different from the city. The train ride to Shifen is also something to look forward to as the route takes you to the forest. It felt like I was on a movie or an MTV, looking out on the window and just appreciating nature.

The size of the lantern is almost my height lol


Each lantern has a meaning depending on its color like for health, love, work, etc. And it’s best to visit at night as it gives a different experience of flying these colorful lantern than during the day.

One-colored lantern – 100 ntd
Multi-coloted lantern – 200 ntd

There’s also a waterfalls within the area that you could visit which we were not able to see cos the rain was on and off.


These two are most likely to be visited on the same day as the route is ideal and very easy. 

– From Zhongxiao Fujing station in Taipei, you can take bus 1062 that will drop you off in Jiufen.

– THEN, if you’re done roaming around Jiufen, take a bus to Riufang train station. From Riufang station take a train to Shifen station.

– There’s a direct route that will take you back to the city from Shifen, just ride the train and stop at Taipei main station.



I’d love to hear your Taiwan experience, comment down below 🙂

15 thoughts on “GUIDE TO VISITING JIUFEN AND SHIFEN (day tour)”

  1. Hello, thanks for your tips!

    Kindly add the Bus Number 788 in going to and from the Riufan Station to Jiufen Village. Last night, there was a long queue at the bus station in Jiufen Village. What happened was, people we’re getting on 1062 only. After 15-20mins, another 1062 arrived and 788. Since we thought we cant break the line to get to 788, we just waited for the people to get on the first bus which was 1062, the 2nd bus was 788. Unfortunately, the 1062 was already full and when we were supposed to get on 788, the driver left. We waited another 15-20 mins, 788 came. The people in front of us, maybe 8 people were not getting on so I asked them if they will take 788. They said no, so my hubby and I get on. Only a few followed. I was wondering why they’re not getting on and I think they only knew 1062. I also have a blog and I will share our experience there as well.

    Thank you!

  2. Hello! Great read! Very informative.

    Can you give me an estimate as how much is the total fare for the entire trip back and forth?

    We’re thinking of taking a tour but your blog makes it seem easy to go there and seems cheaper.

    Btw, we’re leaving this Sunday so it would really be a big help! ☺☺

    Thank you!

  3. Hi Janice. I am traveling to Taipei for the forst time in August. 3 full days feom Sat-Mon. I heard a lot of sites are closed Monday. Is that a bad day to go to Jiufen? I am planning to go with my 13 year old son. Is it pretty easy to get everywhere by foot once there? Would a 1/2 day (3-4 hours) be enough time? Also is there a “best” central location for choosing hotel in Taipei which is lively and has many conveniences around it?

  4. We only have 5 hours to go around jiufen and shifen. Is it advisable to rent a taxi (we inquired taipei taxi) for the said duration?

  5. Hi Janice, your blog is very informative!

    Is it possible to do Yehilu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen in one day? I am traveling with my brother and cousin this May 2018. We are thinking if we will join Klook Shuttle bus form Taipe to Yehliu + Jiufen + Shifen or will just commute with public bus. Which do you think is better? Thanks!

    1. Yeah, I think it’s doable and better to ger the tour if that’s your planned route cos commute can eat up your time cos these 3 spots are not on the same area.

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